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Hanson at MGM Springfield

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hanson would be doing a show at the new MGM Springfield Casino in Springfield, MA.  Initially there was some confusion with whether the show was going to be June 8 or 15th, but fortunately for me, it ended up being the 8th.  I contacted them about ADA seating and was told I would be taken care of when I got there.  When we arrived we were given VIP wristbands so we would get in early and were told there were seats in the back.  There ended up being a VIP pit that was way too big for the amount of VIP tickets there actually were, so we decided to stand in there so I could hold on rather than go to the back.  It was really weird to be standing in essentially a giant “hole” in the middle of the crowd and I can’t even imagine what it looked like from the stage to Hanson.

The guys took the stage at 8:01 and played for roughly 90 minutes with a high energy set of the singles and crowd favorites.  The crowd seemed really into it, and I guess a bit rowdy as well as I overheard several arguments and heard about someone getting punched too. Yikes!

Even with it being pretty darn hot for a June evening, the show was a ton of fun and the outdoor venue at MGM Springfield is pretty nice.

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SPARC Live Art: Family

Last year Jason Mraz released a documentary and in it he showed a bit of his time with SPARC and their Live Art show which features kids of all abilities.  I thought this was absolutely amazing and said that I wanted to go and check it out one year.  Well, this year they asked Hanson to be a part of it so that settled things – I would have to figure out how to get there!

In addition to Hanson and Jason Mraz there were many other talented musicians and hundreds of talented kids in the SPARC program.  I ended up taking the train – 8 hours each way – instead of driving – 8 hours each way – because then I would have some WiFi and not have to focus on the road and could just relax.  On the way there – the toilets were out of order from just before Washington, DC until we made it to Richmond. (2-3 hours?)  On the way home – the WiFi went out pretty early and they weren’t able to reboot it.  Fortunately I had loaded up a lot of the reading for my grad school classes when I first got on the train so I had those available to read and also started the back log of some of my old blog posts.

Saturday night we decided to check out the Galaxy Diner and had an amazing chocolate malt and a sandwich.  We walked a bit around the area, found a soda & candy shop, checked out an ice cream shop and headed back to the hotel.  At 3:30am we got a wake up call from the “gas detection” on the wall – turns out it had a mute button, we pushed it, and went back to sleep not knowing if we’d be killed by gas or what was going on.

The next morning we headed off to a street fair called “Broad Apetit” that took place on Broad street.  We ended up getting Philly Cheese steak, Funnel Cake Fries and Fried Oreos.  Then it was time to head to the theater for the show.

The program of the show had the setlist for the evening – we were pleasantly surprised that Hanson would be doing 4 songs – and none were MMMBop! And that Jason would also be doing 4 songs.  Based on some of the rehearsal footage we saw, it seemed like Hanson would be featured in a few other songs, as well.

It’s hard to really describe the event, but it was absolutely amazing and I am so glad that I made the 16 hours round trip to be able to be there.  I Was Born had puppets included with the kids making them dance around and I am not sure I will ever be able to sit through a performance of that song again without puppets.  I hope a video of it surfaces (they were recording the whole show professionally and asked that we not record) because it was everything I never knew I needed.

After the show we waited for a bit for Hanson to come out, were told they had no plans to come out and went to get dinner.  As we walked back up from dinner a car pulled out “Do you think that’s them?” only to see all the fans walking out of the alley telling us we “just missed them”   Figures!!

 

Hanson Day Tulsa 2019

Last month I made my 11th trip to Tulsa for a Hanson Members Only Event.  This one was a little bit different from the rest because we would get FOUR consecutive nights of music and I’d also be hitting my 200th show while there. :-O

I opted to try Westchester airport this time to see how things went not for a work trip.  The way there was perfect – I had a layover in Chicago and got to Tulsa without any problems. My room was ready when I arrived and was facing Main St – but was too far down to actually be able to see the Hop Jam stage from it.  I met up with some friends and we grabbed lunch and then went to the “pop up” registration that ended up happening.

Thursday morning we got in line early for the store – but still had to wait 4 hours.  I started feeling like I was going to pass out minutes before it was time for us to pay (an hour after placing our order!) but fortunately my friends were around to help me out and things were ok after that.  We ordered some lunch, headed to our volunteer shift and then it was time for the “Storytellers” show. I’m not sure they quite understand what “storytellers” means as they don’t often tell stories – but they did theme it to the Underneath Acoustic/Underneath tours since it is the 15th anniversary of that album this year.  And in a rare and special treat, Isaac ended up playing the cello on Underneath!   After the show it was time for karaoke but with both of us feeling less than stellar we weren’t able to make it through the full event. (And it was a lot more fun last year with Mac co-hosting)

Friday morning we got in line for group photos and then had time to actually get a meal before our Edible Digital Pants listening session.  After that we went to painting.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the painting chosen for us this year, and I’m not sure I would have bought tickets if I knew what it was going to be ahead of time but ended up having a lot of fun (once again) with the whole painting process.  After painting we went to Buck Atom’s on Route 66 and got our String Theory Galactic Space Sandwiches that were very good but perhaps a little bit too big of a serving.  That evening was the String Theory show and also my 200th show. I even made myself a brag sash for the occasion.  After the show we hit up Hurts Donuts and got their Peanut Butter Cup stuffed donut as well as a few others.  The peanut butter stuffed was underwhelming but I did enjoy a couple of the others we had gotten. Then we hit up the after party with DJ Taylor.  They were handing out heads of each of the band members on the way in and the song list was requested to Taylor in advance and I guess that was all that was needed to have a really fun time – we made it all the way to the end of the event! Woo! Maybe we’re not so old after all 😉

Saturday it was absolutely pouring rain and storming so we opted to skip going to the gallery.  I didn’t end up making it inside at all, sadly.  We had our Street Team Leaders lunch and then I had a volunteer shift until the Members Only Concert started.  Before the show the guys had their “state of the band” where they announced what would be coming up in the future for HANSON.  The big excitement was that they are working on not one but TWO new albums and hope to release them in 2020 and 2021.  The first album will hopefully get some preview shows later this year and then kick off one of their most comprehensive world tours.  Now I’m not so sad I can’t make it to Disney anymore because hopefully I will get to hit a few shows on this tour (and maybe another new state or two?)  After the show we skipped the Firkin Feast and just went to sleep early as Hop Jam was the next day and is exhausting.

Sunday we did our volunteer thing for Hop Jam and I wanted to check out most of the performers, and that I did.  Unfortunately the ADA section got combined with Music VIP and then once Hanson took the stage everyone stood.  I either had to sit there and be claustrophobic (not something I wanted to do with the near passing out/potential panic attack a couple days before) or attempt to stand for most of the show (also not ideal)  So I ended up standing up, taking a couple close up photos and heading over to Mexicali’s to sit along the wall.  Apparently I should have been saving my spot all day and not volunteering to ensure I was in the front of ADA.  Oh well, I’ll try better next year. Anyway… Phantom Planet had a surprise guest – Darren Criss from Glee – I knew he was a Hanson fan but apparently he is an even bigger Phantom Planet fan and had to come in to see their reunion show.  I had never seen PP before but thoroughly enjoyed them!

It was on Sunday we were realizing that the weather on Monday for our flights home was going to be BAD with the possibility of many tornadoes coming through.  My flight out was 3pm so we were just hoping that we could get out before the storms hit.  Fortunately we were able to get out – but when we landed in Charlotte, we had to deplane via the stairs.  I waited until the end and it was terrifying, fortunately I had a friend on the flight ready and willing to help me out.  She also made sure I got to my next gate.  I then realized that we would have to do stairs – AGAIN!  With no one to help me I said I wouldn’t be able to do the stairs so they said they would put a ramp up after everyone boarded.  No pre-boarding perks but fortunately there was still room for my bag when I got on and when we landed back in NY the ramp was up for *everyone* (as it should be!)  But we weren’t at a gate and there was no wheelchair so I had to lug my way too heavy on the day after Hop Jam backpack back to the terminal.  Not sure that I’ll be flying out of Westchester again for fear of that happening again or I’ll just have to be more demanding for assistance.

And it took me so long to put this review together, RSVP is already up for Hanson Day 2020!  I’m hoping to attend once again 🙂

 

 

Hanson: Snowed In: Virginia

Hanson was scheduled to play the Uncorked and Unplugged event in Williamsburg, VA on December 9th.  At first I wasn’t going to attend because it was on a Sunday and 7-8 hours away, but my friend and I tried to figure out a plan and decided if we could get the VIP Meet & Greet tickets we would make it work.  After one of the most stressful ticket on sales that I have had to deal with in a while, the site crashed, we thought we may end up with multiple pairs of tickets and then finally finding a 30% off coupon that saved us some decent money our M&G tickets were confirmed!

About a week before the show, weather reports started saying that a storm might be coming through. We kept an eye on it and it moved south and we were only supposed to get rain in that area.  Then a couple days before it shifted again.  We headed to the Richmond, VA area the night before and the weather report said a dusting to 2 inches in Williamsburg, turning to rain.  Richmond was due for 4-8 inches.  With that information, we decided we could handle the trek and made our way to the winery.

Our tickets included a pre-show reception with champagne, oysters, a wine tasting and other snacks. I am not a wine fan but I did try a couple and was not impressed.  There was a string quartet playing a mix of Holiday tunes and pop hits (we walked in to them playing Taylor Swift. Yuck)  In addition to meeting Hanson we also got a M&G with Brynn Elliott, who I wasn’t sure any of her songs until she sang one during the show and I realized I had heard it on the radio.  The Hanson M&G was photos only and a quick hello, but we weren’t expecting anything more than that.

After the M&G we headed down to the tent where the concert would be held and waited for them to let us in – both times entering we were subject to incredibly intense security checks. It was not that easy to figure out where we needed to go for our seats – but we ended up making it to the front row.  Hanson had their acoustic set up so we were in front of Zac.

The “heated” tent was not that heated, I took my coat off for a bit just because it was soaking wet from being in the snow for 30 or so minutes waiting to be let inside, but ended up putting it back on for the rest of the show.  Heather Murphy was up first, I guess she is a local singer and did 1 original song and a whole ton of covers.  I kind of wondered why her set was so long, but it is what it is. (She did have a nice voice, I’m just not one to want to sit through a bunch of covers)  Brynn was up next – the radio station had to “stall” for 5 minutes before she was ready to take the stage and that was pure torture.  Her set seemed much shorter than Heather’s but was much more enjoyable.

Then it was time for HANSON!!! The set was a pretty generic festival set with most of the singles.  They did end up adding I Will Come To You based on the request of one of the radio DJs. (Who apparently asked them for it by the wrong name and Zac called her out on it before they started playing it.)  Near the end of the set, we could see a lot of commotion off to the side of the stage and then the guys were being yelled at to do just one more song – but they hadn’t gotten to MMMBop yet.  I did notice that the snow that was supposed to stop and turn to rain had not. (I always was told once the flakes started getting bigger it meant that the snow was going to stop soon – which was not the case.)  They ended up doing a shortened version of MMMBop and then Taylor was *determined* to fit in one more.  They were calling for the guys to come off the stage and it looked like they cut power to Taylor’s keyboard but he was still trying to play something.  In the end, they did White Christmas acapella and then told us we had to go because the tent had too much snow on it.  A lot of people came up front to try and get setlists, etc.  We were able to snap a photo of it just before one of Hanson’s crew got on stage and said we had to GO.  At that point I hadn’t turned around yet, and once I did I knew we had to get out ASAP because the roof was definitely being heavily weighed down by snow. We started throwing chairs out of the way to get out at that point since people were still blocking the way up front and got outside.  According to some of the radio DJs about 20 minutes later the back of the tent started to cave in.  We got to the car and started to clear it off and heat everything up and decide what we wanted to do.  It took us about an hour and a half just to get out of the grounds of the winery because cars were stuck, trees were down and the roads were a mess.  The dusting to 2 inches was more like 4 – and still coming down.

We decided to try and make it back to PA, but had a heck of a time once the GPS rerouted us off the highway and everywhere we went trees were down and the situation just was getting worse and worse the further we went.  Props to my friend who was able to navigate the roads and keep us safe – I am sure I would have had us in a ditch trying to weave around the trees. (And we did see a car just like mine in a ditch at one point.) After being forced to turn around because of a tree only to go back the way we came to be met with ANOTHER tree, we didn’t know what to do. Visions of being stuck on that road for the night in the snow were dancing around in my head. Fortunately 2 angels were in the cars in front of us and were able to pull the tree down so we could pass.  We stopped at a gas station to use the facilities and regroup – and decided the best thing to do was to turn around and go back to Williamsburg.  We had gone 20 miles in 2 hours and still had 30 miles to go to get back to the highway – and head to the Richmond area which had a FOOT of snow.

I booked a room at a Holiday Inn via the app… only to arrive and be told they didn’t have our reservation and that they were fully booked. (And then I was charged as a “no show” – how you gonna charge me for a room that didn’t even exist? But a refund is in the works now – they had no internet access to connect with the app system so the app didn’t know they were full to not allow me to book.)  We ended up calling a Hampton Inn and they had a room and power – apparently half the town lost power.  I’m not surprised, all the trees were getting weighed down and I’m sure many a tree came down on a power line.  We made it to the hotel, and the next morning everything was much, much easier to navigate and we made it home in good time.  Instead of working from the office a half day I worked from my friends place and ended up making great time back home as well. (So glad I have an understanding boss!)

Hindsight is 20/20 – I’m sure there are a lot of things we would have done differently had we known that the forecast was going to be so off base.  I am sure that the winery, event coordinators and radio stations would have as well.  And I am sure that if Taylor knew the tent was going to start caving in 20 minutes later (just before their set was supposed to end) he wouldn’t have fought so hard to try and squeeze in one last song. By the time we realized the snow was out of control – it was way too late to move on to a plan B.  I am just glad we ended up safe, were able to maneuver the car when it almost got stuck and didn’t end up stuck overnight in the snow on a road barricaded in by trees.  Things were not ideal, but things could have been so much worse.

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Hanson String Theory: Boston, Philly, NYC

Recently I had my last 3 US String Theory shows for the year in Boston, Philly & NYC.  Since they are all big (obnoxious) sports towns, I was a bit curious to see how that might transfer to the catcalling during the shows since Zac had to write a blog post on Hanson.net about how to behave at the shows (that were probably just preaching to the choir.)

For Boston we were 3rd row in front of Zac, which may have skewed the sound just a bit and made the drums a lot louder than intended.  Crowd wise there was some catcalling but everyone at least in our general area followed the “don’t stand until the last 3-4 songs” rule.  Boston gets a bad rep for being overly obnoxious but my eye rolls were limited.  The seats however must have been original to the 1800s – next to 0 leg room (and I am SHORT! A guy in front of us had to be 6’4” OR MORE and I felt so, so bad for him) and were practically on the ground.  Once I sat I had no idea how I was going to get back up – it definitely took effort towards the end of the show!  Zac was super smiley and looking at us a lot – I think because he is so used to being so far away and blocked from everyone, this tour he really got to goof off a bit with the people up front! He seemed to be having a blast!

For Philly we were 3rd row in front of Taylor, which honestly may be the best angle to get.  Positioned correctly, mics won’t be blocking the piano and cymbals won’t be blocking Zac. (I had a few shows this tour where I fell victim to ‘cymbal face’) If I had to guess before the show I’d have thought his crowd would be the worst (they are known to boo Santa!) but honestly I think this was the best crowd – despite many not being even let inside the doors before Hanson had already started. (I love that there’s no “Hanson Time” this tour – but when there is a line of people nearly around the block, you can’t push things back 5-10 minutes?  They didn’t come on until 8:10 in Boston!)  I knew something was up when the 3 didn’t take a bow after bowing with the maestro and backup musicians.  Since it was Veteran’s Day the 3 came back out and did the National Anthem.

New York City was back at the Beacon after 21 years! (Not 20, the first show was August 1997. It’s math, people.) I had not won my way in back in 1997 (not for lack of trying!) so it was awesome to finally see them there after wishing it would happen for so long!  This crowd was by far the worst, standing wise.  A few people here and there would pop up during the songs they knew (ie MON songs) and by the 2nd act everyone was up from the start.  I knew that the mood of the songs would lead to an up-down-up-down reaction so I opted to sit until I knew we were supposed to be “up”, per Zac’s post.  This show we were around 8 rows back on Zac’s side and you know I had seen it “too many times” (no such thing) because I started watching the orchestra more than Hanson (and maybe because we were a bit further back and I could see them pretty unobstructed without the guys right in front of me) and found myself a fun, cute violinist to watch and also a cute clarinetist (when he wasn’t blocked by Isaac.)  This show I also finally “got” MMMBop being included – at my 6 previous shows it just didn’t seem to fit in with the orchestra but somehow it sounded totally different at this show.  Being further back + a venue made for really great acoustics may have made the difference. (My first show I was the furthest back, 10 rows, but I may not have picked up on everything since I was taking it all in for the first time.)

 

There is still one more (non string theory) Hanson show for me this year, then it is off around the world to see them in Jamaica and Australia in 2019.  I am getting so close to my 200th show… I currently have tickets for up to #199!  Where will #200 end up being? I’m guessing Tulsa but we’ll see!

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Hanson String Theory – Atlanta & Nashville

Near the end of October I made a trip to Atlanta and Nashville to see Hanson’s String Theory Tour.   We had Friday in Atlanta to sightsee so we hit up World of Coke (pro tip – if you have a free ticket in your coke app, screen cap it because it will eat it before you get to the museum to redeem it!) and the Georgia Aquarium.   World of Coke was fun – we had a lot of fun in the tasting room trying all the different sodas from around the world and trying to not stick to the floor.  I really liked the blue raspberry Fanta and of course SURGE… both from North America but I think I did try at least 1 from each of the areas available.  The aquarium was a lot of fun too, we hit up the dolphin show, saw some otters, lots of fish, penguins… and finally found Nemo in the last place we looked! Saturday we took it easy until it was time to leave for the show, found a spot for dinner and headed to the Symphony Hall.  We had 3rd row center for this show and it was my closest show yet, we were between Isaac and Zac and the show was a lot of fun.  Not as great of sound as Denver, but good!  After the show we hung around for a bit to see if we could catch a glimpse of the guys getting on the bus (we did) and then headed to Chattanooga, halfway to Nashville, for the night.  When our hotel breakfast had the tiniest cinnamon rolls and “bagels for babies”, we hit the diner across the street for a real breakfast before heading to Nashville.  We got ready for the show, ubered to the wings mural and took some pre-show photos before grabbing dinner and heading to the venue.  It was FREEZING in Nashville. I had brought my winter coat and was glad I did!   For this show we had front row, all the way over to the side and it turned out to actually be a really great view – no symbol face for Zac and not as far over as the seating chart on the website had led us to believe.  I spotted “Slim” who plays guitar for Lady A (but used to play for Curtis Peoples) and Paul McDonald in the crowd and I’m sure there were more familiar faces around as well.  While the setlist is the same every night the show is not – and Zac sang “now that I’ve started…” at the beginning of chasing down my dreams but… no one else had started so he had to start again.  In addition to the mishaps, there is also a different feel with each orchestra and each maestro. (And Nashville’s happened to be adorable)  talking to Isaac after the show he said that he could notice a difference with each orchestra, their timing, loudness, etc.  I think my favorite shows in order are: Denver, Nashville, Atlanta, Pittsburgh.  I probably won’t be able to keep a ranking up with like 9 or 10 more shows to go. (Though I bet the Sydney Opera House will be up there. Yeah… I’m going back to Australia!)

 

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Hanson at The Big E

Friday September 14th was the first day of the Big E and Hanson was the entertainment for the evening at the Court of Honor Stage.  After finding “handicapped” parking in a pile of mud, we rode a golf cart to the main entrance, took a bit of a walk around and realized 2nd row was up for grabs for the show.  We hit up one of the fried food stations for lunch (funnel cake and deep fried oreos – lunch of champions) and then snagged a spot in the 2nd row for the day, knowing we would be seeing Street Beat at 1pm and 6pm and Blessid Union of Souls at 3pm.  We also had a good laugh that you couldn’t bring any weapons inside – but wonder knifes and the like were readily available for purchase once you made it inside of the fair.

Street Beats first performance left something to be desired, but the second they used a lot of kids as their volunteers from the audience and that seemed to make things a lot more fun and exciting.  Blessid Union of Souls was a pleasant surprise – I had remembered “Hey Leonardo” from the 90s but had completely forgotten they also had a hit with “I Believe”  The lead singer wore a shiny shirt that had to have not been able to breathe at ALL… and he was covered in sweat by the end of their awesome 1 hour set.

Hanson came out for a soundcheck which drew in quite a crowd – many not realizing that it was not their actual set until after they left. (Are there really people out there that think they only play their songs only halfway through during concerts?)  The crowd got larger and larger until the show started at 8pm and I never did manage to turn around to see just how big the crowd got but was told by friends who were in the back that the crowd went allllll the way back.  (Maybe if the have Hanson back they will get to play the bigger stage next time!)  They did a set mixed of hits and other fan favorites and although I probably would have pulled a couple of songs out of the set if I was in charge of making the list, it was a pretty solid setlist.  Very high energy for about an hour and a half!

My one regret was giving up waiting for the guys to come out after the show – when we left and just ended up in stand-still traffic on the highway anyway due to an accident.  Oh well, hindsight is 20/20

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Hanson String Theory Denver

When the Denver, CO date was initially announced I said I was *not* going even though I could have pulled off going for the weekend using NO vacation days at all.  Once I saw the layout of the venue, I ended up getting myself a ticket and started planning the trip.  Initially I decided to fly in on Saturday and out on Sunday, but realized with it being a Friday off from work and the Rockies were in town (For 90s night, no less) it was worth it to cross off hitting up Coors Field for a game from the Bucket List.

The Rockies played the Los Angeles Dodgers and oddly enough, two of the members of the team have a bit of a Hanson connection.  Yasiel Puig was in an ESPN Sports Center commercial that featured “MMMBop” as an “at-bat song” and Joc Pederson had his at-bat music high jacked a few years back to “MMMBop” which resulted in him hitting a grand slam.  The Hanson connection must have worked in the Dodgers favor as they ended up beating the Rockies 4-2. (And sadly, my Rockies fave, Charlie Blackmon, went 0-5 on the night.)

 

Saturday we ended up hitting up the 16th Street Mall for a bit as well as taking a trek out to Red Rocks to see the Amphitheater and the surrounding area.  I was the only one of the group that had been there before so I got to play a bit of “tour guide” and point out where Hanson’s name was on the wall under 1998 – and we were happy to see that it was added for the 2015 show I had attended there as well!

Saturday evening it was time for my 2nd String Theory show.  The venue was just as exciting as I had hoped and the sound was 100x better than I had imagined it would be.  In Pittsburgh, a lot of the songs seemed to be drowned out by Hanson and I wasn’t sure if they were just playing too loudly and the orchestra too softly or if the sound mix wasn’t quite on par or if that’s just how everything was going to end up sounding.  In Denver I had none of those questions and everything sounded completely amazing.  The conductor/maestro Christopher Dragon was also a pleasure to watch as he absolutely got into it the whole show.  Honestly, I think I was watching him more than Hanson for the majority of the show.  From my view he definitely stole the show!  I wish that he could just join the entire tour, he was that great.

The problem with writing this review a week removed from the show is now I can’t remember any of the highlights I had wanted to mention.  This show seemed to go by much, much quicker than the Pittsburgh show, I am not sure if it is because I knew what was coming or because it sounded so amazing and I just didn’t want it to ever end.  Much like Pittsburgh, there seemed to be a natural progression with people deciding to stand up near the end of the show during I Was Born.  Me Myself and I was the song that made me tear up (but not Broken Angel like last show) and there may have been one in the 2nd part as well but I can’t remember now.  It’s kind of funny how the same setlist can hit you in an entirely different way based on what lyrics you are intently paying attention to and what might be going on in your life at that moment.  I’m glad I have Hanson concerts and weekends with my Hanson friends to run away to.

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Hanson String Theory Pittsburgh

If you are trying to stay spoiler free for Hanson’s latest tour, String Theory, then this is a post you are going to want to bookmark and come back to after you have seen the show.  I will be discussing how the show went and include the setlist so this is your warning to leave the page now…

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The Pittsburgh String Theory originally appeared to be the first show of the tour which is why I tried really hard to be there.  Then they added Columbus before hand but that show ended up being a shortened set, so in a way this show was kind of sort of the first show.

Heinz Hall was a beautiful venue and it was fun to see the varying degree of outfits for the show.  Some were dressed to the nines and others had on Hanson tees and jeans as if it was a regular concert.  I was hoping that everyone would sit for the entire show, and while some did try to stand at various points throughout the set (and some opted to dance along the side walls so as not to disturb everyone else) a few songs before the end we were encouraged to stand.  I still opted not to because the seat was LOW and I wasn’t even sure I could get up – and could still see Zac while sitting anyway 😛

Most of the show I was just in awe.  Some of the songs sounded as if they belonged on a movie soundtrack with the addition of the symphony.  Some songs sounded very different than what I was used to, while others just seemed enhanced with the symphony, and others the band almost seemed to drown the symphony out at times.  It was fun to “ignore” Isaac, Taylor and Zac at times and just watch the musicians behind them at times – how they waited for their cue and all started at just the precise right moments.  I didn’t sing along too much, because my jaw spent a lot of time on the floor.  I am glad that I am seeing it several more times throughout the rest of this year and next because in addition to each different symphony putting their own touches on things, I am sure there are little intricacies in the music that I will only pick up on after seeing/hearing it a few times. (And I am very much so looking forward to the CD release in the fall – including an instrumental version!)

The show starts with Reaching for the Sky Part 1 – a new song that was supposedly written for Anthem but didn’t make the cut.  This show gave me 4 new songs on my “songs heard live list” – Reaching For The Sky Pts 1 and 2 (Zac counted them as 2 separate on Hanson.net and with Pt 2 being cut in Columbus for song counting purposes they kind of have to continue to be considered separate), Dream It Do It, and Battle Cry.

After the set was done, the crowd gave Hanson a standing ovation and they came back out for an “encore”, but not having anything else scored, they gave us a little bit of This Time Around acapella.

The guys also changed their usual positions on stage – “Isaac’s side” is now “Taylor’s side”, Zac being in the middle is now Isaac in the middle and “Taylor’s side” is now “Zac’s side”.  This may be something to keep in mind if you care where your seats are near when purchasing tickets!

Reaching For The Sky (Part 1)
Joyful Noise
Where’s The Love
Dream It Do It
MMMBop
Chasing Down My Dreams
Tragic Symphony
Got a Hold On Me
Yearbook
Siren Call
Me Myself and I
INTERMISSION
Reaching For The Sky (Part 2)
This Time Around
Something Going Round
Battle Cry
You Can’t Stop Us
Broken Angel
What Are We Fighting For
Breaktown
No Rest For The Weary
I Was Born
Sound of Light
Tonight

Encore:
This Time Around (Chorus acapella)

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Hanson Day Tulsa 2018

2018 Hanson Day was my 10th trip to Tulsa, OK to see Hanson.  When I first started planning my trip back in 2009 I am pretty sure I billed it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to experience their home town.  In 2009 they recorded the Stand Up, Stand Up EP and there really weren’t any other events.  10 years later (and not really ‘consecutive hanson day’ events either – since 2010 was a Halloween event!) and it is fascinating to see not only how the Hanson event and activities have grown, but how Tulsa has continued to grow and flourish.

My trip started with some excitement. I had only 40 minutes to get off my plane from Hartford and onto my flight to Tulsa in Dallas.  When my shoes set off the metal detector upon arrival in Hartford, my gate was the furthest away and every flight around me was getting delayed due to weather, I was hoping I’d still make it and all the drama was working itself out early.  When the pilot came on and said we would be delayed 10 minutes because of weather and he hoped to make up the time during the flight but before landing told us we would be 5-8 minutes late, I started mentally preparing myself to drive from Dallas to Tulsa.  And when the jet bridge wouldn’t move to connect to the plane, I thought that any chance I had of making it was over. When we landed I was at the mercy of the wheelchair pusher. I informed him my flight was taking off VERY soon and let’s see if we could make it.  He was being thoroughly pessimistic about the whole thing – and then informed me that gate A8 was THE. LAST. GATE. In A.  Yet somehow, despite hearing “Flight 299 to Tulsa, you need to be on the plane NOW” we made it – and I wasn’t even the last one to board the plane.  Thanks American Airlines for holding that flight because if not it would have been Strike 3 for you.  (When I booked the flight it was an hour or so layover and they changed it on me)

Thursday morning our day kicked off waiting outside Ida Red to pick up an Albertane Tour 20th anniversary pint glass and try the special drink they had come up with.  After that we got our Hanson.net wristbands and hopped in line for the store.  I spent a new record amount of money, but in my defense I was picking up merch for 3 others in addition to myself.  Once you take out their totals,  I was pretty much on pace for my usual amount, despite being a bit underwhelmed with the merch this year. (But I’ll confess, that $100 blanket is beautiful and I can’t wait to put it on my bed.) Then there was some eating, some volunteering, some more eating and then it was time for some karaoke – where facebook and snapchat filters set me into a fit of hysterics.  Maybe I needed some sleep…

Friday we got I line for the gallery pretty early, and while there were some original paintings left by the time I entered, I opted to get a couple of prints instead. We also participated in the String Theory ball of yarn.  After the gallery it was time for group photos, so we headed down to Cain’s Ballroom for that.  We stopped at Prairie Brewpub for my first visit before getting ready for the Storytellers concert.  I was pretty nervous that they were going to play With You In Your Dreams and my fears came true when Taylor started mentioning that they wanted us to sing in a chorus.  The setlist was Albertane Tour throwback (and Money was a song I had never heard them perform live before) and I liked that they “themed” it to a 20th anniversary – but… I can really do without WYIYD for the foreseeable future.  Then it was time for the ST Leaders dinner where my cane almost took someone out… and I realized that IPA Cheddar Burger meant that the cheese had the beer in it… and was gross.  I ended up falling asleep instead of going to Taylor’s Dance Party that night. Oops.

Saturday we had a later day, starting off with the Listening Party of Zac’s special music project “The Machine”, it was definitely interesting… then we headed off to Pinot’s Pallette where we painted our own version of Zac’s pansy painting from the gallery.  I went roque – from the moment the instructor said “paint your canvas light blue” and mine was light orange.   I did a mixture of oranges, yellows and reds for my pansy.  It probably could have used more yellow, but overall it came out pretty good.  That night was the full Members Only Concert and I was really digging the 100% members only song setlist – until it got to the solos and then it kind of lost me… and then they played Where’s the Love which I love but am a bit sick of. (Honestly though I know I complain about the setlists but I’d rather be at a Hanson show with a (imo) lame setlist than pretty much anywhere else in the world. So.) After the concert we rushed off to Firkin Feast – and after the gross burger the night before I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I actually enjoyed 2 of the 4 beers that they offered after thinking I would never find a beer I would actually like, so that was a plus, and despite the menu not being at ALL what I would ever choose to eat, I ate each of my courses in its entirety and enjoyed it!

Sunday was The Hop Jam Beer & Music Festival.  Hanson wasn’t performing, which made things a bit less hectic and crowded.  I volunteered handing out fliers at the entrance with a great group of security guys (way better than the group I was with last year) and still had a chance to check out Paul McDonald’s set from my hotel room and some of Manchester Orchestra’s as well.  I was also pretty close to Guthrie Green which had the local bands playing and was pretty impressed with what I heard from there as well.

Monday it was time to go and my flight home was pretty uneventful except for the fact that the best flight I could get home for points on Southwest was to take a detour to Denver with a 4 hour layover.  I can’t complain, it was only $6 and I got to have a delicious Einstein Mac & Cheese bagel!

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